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The Value of Julius Guttmann's Die Phi Lo Sophie Des Judentums for Understanding Medieval Jewish Philosophy Today

The Value of Julius Guttmann's Die Phi Lo Sophie Des Judentums for Understanding Medieval Jewish Philosophy Today

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Te Value o Julius Guttmanns
Die Philosophie desJudentums
or Understanding Medieval JewishPhilosophy oday
 
   has seen the appearance o several histories o medieval Jewish philosophy and more are on the way.
For studentsand teachers in the field, the appearance o these new works raises thequestion whether they complement or supplant the well-known his-tories o Jewish philosophy o the previous century. Are the olderworks still o value or are they now outdated?By a series o coincidences I have had the opportunity to considerthis question several times in past years, most recently with regard toRenan’s account o Jewish Averroism and with regard to Husik’s
History o Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy
. I will mention very briefly my conclusions concerning these two works as background and as pointso comparison or the present inquiry. In Ernest Renan’s classic work,
et l’averroïsme
, published in 1852 and in a revised expanded version in 1861, the author briefly described the lie, teachings, andworks o Averroes, and then discussed his impact on later Islamic,Jewish, and Christian philosophers. In a study written or an issue o the
 Jewish Studies Quarterly
, whose theme was the reevaluation o thegreat scholarly works o previous generations in the area o medievalJewish thought, I reconsidered the accuracy o Renan’s account o theimpact o Averroes on medieval Jewish thought, and suggested how it
1. For example, D.H. F & O. L (eds.),
History o Jewish Philosophy
 (London 1997) II,
Medieval Jewish philosophy
, 83–573; D.H. F & O. L(eds.),
Te Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy
(Cambridge 2003);R. J (
סוליפ תידוהי ימ 
יב ם 
ברמ הידע 
ס ן 
ואג ד 
ע ב 
 JewishPhilosophy in the Middle Ages: From Sa‘ adiah Ga’ on to Maimonides
) (3 vols.; Raanana2005–2007); M.-R. H,
Geschichte der jüdischen Philosophie
(Darmstadt 2004);and
La philosophie juive
(Paris 2004).
might be modified and updated in light o recent research.
AlthoughRenan’s account was based primarily on bibliographical notices andmanuscript catalogues, rather than on a careul reading o the textsthemselves, he was able to give his reader what we now know to be aairly accurate account o this impact. In considering the extent towhich Renan’s account needs to be updated, I took the example o Gersonides. Te burgeoning research into his thought illustrates howar we have progressed, not only in the past century and one-hal since
 Averroès et l’averroïsme,
but even in the past decade or so, inunderstanding the influence o Averroes on the philosophy andscience o major post-Maimonidean Jewish philosophers. Te samecan be said with regard to the recent research, impressive in scopeand depth, on the impact o Averroes upon many less original andless known Jewish thinkers. I concluded that Renan’s pioneering ac-count o Jewish Averroism needed to be updated and greatly ex-panded on the basis o a century and one-hal o research, but it didnot need to be totally overhauled.
Indeed Renan grasped the impacto Averroes on post-Maimonidean thought even better than somecontemporary scholars.Husik’s
 A History o Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy
, published in1916, was intended to be the first one-volume history o medievalJewish philosophy. His method was to give a ‘detailed exposition o the individual philosophers’, arranged in chronological order.
Heexplicitly did not seek originality in his
or to impose his ownor any other modern ideas on those o the medievals. Rather, he‘endeavored to interpret their ideas rom their own point o view’ inlight o the religious and philosophical texts that could have influ-enced them.
I had the opportunity a ew years ago to consider the value today o Husik’s
or a preace to a new printing o thework.
When Husik’s book first appeared, it was at once praised as a‘very valuable summary o mediaeval Jewish philosophy’,
and recog-
2. S. H, ‘On the Nature and Extent o Jewish Averroism: Renans
 Averroèset l’averroïsme
 Jewish Studies Quarterly
7 (2000) 100–119.3.
, 119.4. I. H,
 A History o Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy
(repr. Mineola,  2002) xl.5.
., ix.6. S. H, preace to H,
, i-vi.7. H. M, ‘Husik’s “History o Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy”’,
 Jewish Quar-terly Review
 9 (1918–1919) 233–244, esp. 233. For M’s objections and cor-rections, see
, 238–244.
  299nised as a classic.
It consists o an introduction, eighteen chapters,and a brie conclusion. Each chapter is dedicated to one—or in twoinstances, two—thinkers, and with one exception is based primarily on a careul reading o the source text under discussion. Husik’s in- variably clear presentation o the main arguments and teachings o the work under consideration serves to introduce the reader to themain personalities and topics o medieval Jewish philosophy. He isnot content with summary alone. Rather, he punctuates his summa-ries with analyses, which at times comment on the strength or weak-ness o a given argument or explanation, and on the author’s sourcesand use o his sources. Because Husik’s accounts are based on thetexts themselves and primarily intended simply to elucidate them,they remain o value today. I concluded that despite all the advancesand publications in the field, his learned
History o Mediaeval JewishPhilosophy
remains today a valuable guide to the subject and one o its best introductions.
 Te goal o the present paper is to assess the importance today o another one o those grand histories o Jewish philosophy, JuliusGuttmann’s
Die Philosophie des Judentums
One might reason thatin light o my view o Husik’s old history, I would have similar andeven better things to say about Guttmann’s book. Afer all Guttmannwrote his book in 1933 and revised and enlarged it or the Hebrewedition in 1951.
Indeed this argument could be urther strength-
8. See e.g.
Revue de metaphysique et de morale
29 (April–June 1922): supplément,p. 12, and G. V’s comments in his review o 
Philosophical Essays, Ancient, Medie-val & Modern by Isaak Husik
(ed. M.C. N & L. S):
Revue des Études Juives
112 (1953) 87.9. H, preace to H,
, vi.10. An earlier draf o this paper was prepared at the request o Proessor ReinierM or a session he organised on Julius Guttmann at the 14th World Congress o Jewish Studies, Jerusalem 2005.11. G’s
Die Philosophie des Judentums
was first published by ErnstReinhardt in Munich in 1933 (repr. Wiesbaden 1985). A new edition recently ap-peared, updated to the present by E. S, with a biographical introduction by F.B (Berlin 2000). Te Hebrew translation o Guttmann’s revised text wasmade by Y.L. B,
(Jerusalem 1951), and has been reprint-ed by Mosad Bialik several times. An English translation was prepared by D.W. S-,
Philosophies o Judaism
, with an introduction by R.J. Z W(New York 1964) and has been reprinted by different publishers. Other translationshave been made into French, Portuguese, and Japanese. See
Histoire des philosophies juives
(trans. rom the English by S. C-D; Paris 1994), and
 A Filosofiado Judaísmo
(trans. J. G; S
o Paulo 2003). Page reerences are to the 1933

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